Employees attracted to caring companies

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 August, 2010, 12:00am

One question Joseph Michelli looks to address in The Starbucks Experience - the book and the workshops - is 'what can I learn from a company like that'? The answer, in most cases, is some variant of 'quite a lot', whether the people concerned are at the top of their organisation, somewhere else in the hierarchy, or simply hoping to make a mark in their community.

It is definitely so in the specific area of corporate social responsibility. Here, Starbucks has taken on board the fact that most of us, the world's workforce, want to be involved with organisations that care about something more than just money.

'Leaders are well advised to lift their eyes from the bottom line and consider their communities,' Michelli says. 'Businesses that thrive today are led by managers who understand the importance of investing in their people [beyond a competitive salary] and in their neighbourhoods [both proactively and responsively].'

With this in mind, he outlines the concept of the 'triple bottom line'. Basically, it requires companies to report not just financial results, but also to measure their social impact and environmental performance against pre-set targets.

Accepting the need to do this is a big step towards creating a business model and style of management that is in tune with the times. It also brings tangible, though not easily measurable, benefits in terms of higher employee morale, top-quality applicants attracted by the company's values, better teamwork and a stronger corporate identity. 'In truth, the size of a company only partly explains the magnitude of its social impact,' Michelli says. 'The scale of any leadership's conscience and the size of its heart also play a big role. Small and mid-sized companies can do amazing things for the people who work for them and for their neighbours. They can make a big splash in a smaller pond.'